Security Experts:

Cloud Computing Survey Shows Many not Evaluating Security Before Deployment

A new study by CA Technologies and Ponemon Institute shows that many companies are more confident about security in the cloud, but that the forecast is far from sunny.

In a survey that fielded responses from 748 IT professionals, the researchers found that affirmative answers for questions involving cloud security best practices, confidence in cloud services and the knowledge of cloud services used within an organization all hovered around 50 percent. For example, only 51 said they evaluate the security of software-as-a-service (SaaS) applications prior to deployment, while the remainder said the either don't know (14 percent) or did not (35 percent). 

This is a slight improvement from 2010, when the survey found that only 45 percent evaluated the security of SaaS applications ahead of time. The numbers were roughly the same for other cloud services such as infrastructure-as-a-service (IaaS). In that case, only 49 percent of organizations evaluate the offering prior to deployment in 2012, compared to 46 percent in 2010.

Half of the respondents said they are very confident or confident that their IT organization’s ability to know all threats to cloud computing applications, platforms and infrastructure services in use today has improved. This is up from 45 percent in 2010. Still, only 50 percent of respondents said they are confident they know all the cloud services their organization is using.

“While cloud computing is still one of the most disruptive and promising trends of the past decade, our study shows that cloud security struggles to get past a grade of 50 percent when it comes to best practices, including the percentage of organizations that say they engage their security teams in determining the use of cloud services,” said Mike Denning, general manager of security at CA Technologies, in a statement. “We believe that organizations can do better and gain the benefits of cloud computing by reducing risk and achieving that desired balance of protection and business enablement.”

The perception of who is responsible for security varied. Thirty-six percent put the security of SaaS applications at the feet of the cloud provider, while 31 percent named a company's end-users as the responsible party. Fourteen percent said it was both.

“Confidence in and best practices for the security of cloud computing is improving but not as significantly as one might have expected since our 2010 study,” said Dr. Larry Ponemon, chairman and founder of the Ponemon Institute, in a statement. “Our latest study offers organizations new data that should spark them to examine their own internal practices which could result in improvements in how they adopt and secure cloud services and applications.”

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